STUDENT TECH PUTS SKILLS TO THE TEST
When Caterpillar announced they were looking for student technicians to participate in their Cat Trial 10 video series, Western States Cat Technician Program student Diego Hill knew he was up for the challenge.
The Western States Cat Technician Program (WSCTP) is a 15-month program, which includes a three-month internship in a Western States shop and a full year of academic study. Run in partnership with the College of Western Idaho, the WSCTP is geared toward students with little to no experience working on heavy equipment. Many students, including Diego, go into the program with a personal connection to Cat equipment.
“I wanted to become a technician because of my grandpa. He had Cat equipment, and I was the one that got to do all of the dirty work with him, like greasing the machine, changing the teeth on buckets, all of that fun stuff,” he explained, “I was inspired to apply for the technician program because I saw the opportunity for advancement throughout my career. I thought it would be a great starting point,” Diego said.
The Cat Trial 10: Tech Test was designed to be an obstacle course, complete with challenges to test participants’ knowledge and understanding of the skills needed to be a Cat technician. Diego said he used a lot of what he’s learned so far in the WSCTP as he completed the course, and was proud to be able to carry Western States’ emphasis on safety with him into the arena.
“I have learned a lot in the WSCTP program, but knowing how to recognize and prevent safety issues was really important during the Cat Trial. I was the only one who filled out some sort of JHA, which helped me to remember to do a 360 walk-around anything before operation. It helped me see what could go wrong and how I could avoid an accident,” he said.
“If you’re thinking about becoming a technician, the Western States program will help you out a lot,” Diego explained, “You don’t have to be someone who’s been turning wrenches all your life, so don’t let that hold you back! Always have an open mind, and never box yourself into just one thing. There’s always going to be more and more opportunities to better yourself, you just have to be willing to learn.”
For more information about the Western States Cat Technician Program, head to our Educational Programs page.